Friday, August 9, 2013

Cider Review: Distillery Lane Ciderworks Traditional Dry Sparkling Cider

Distillery Lane Ciderworks makes and sells cider in Jefferson, Maryland near the town of Burkittsville. They are the first licensed cidery in the state. I first heard about them first through a fellow cider blogger who lives much closer, but they have a really interesting story and location. Their website tells it far better than I could here, Be warned that though the website has great info, it does have a tendency to spit visitors back at the front page unexpectedly.

The Traditional Dry Sparkling Cider is the first cider I've gotten to taste from Distillery Lane Ciderworks. The ABV is measured at 7.5%. Here's what the cider makers have to say about it, "Our Traditional Dry Sparkling Cider is made from a blend of English, French, and American cider apple varieties. The blend of apples gives our ciders the right combination of acid, tannins, and sugar to make fine hard cider.  We take the well-balanced cider blend and allow it to finish the fermentation process in the bottles (similar to bottle-conditioned craft beers).  The result is a fully dry, sparkling beverage that is perfect for a hot summer day or an evening toast. Many people have commented that this hard cider is very similar to champagne."

Appearance: significantly Hazy, mellow lemon curd color

The Traditional Dry Sparkling has a warmer tone than many ciders. After pouring, I noticed a ring of mousse around the glass. The cider looks so hazy it appears that the tiny bubbles have to fight their way to the top.

Aromas: fresh apples, lemon peel, hay

I notice enough fabulous smells that I am positively champing at the bit to actually taste this one.

Sweetness: Dry

Deep bone dry. This is what I've been waiting for. So many ciders that get described as dry don't taste fully dry to me, and this one actually does. This means it is a cider for people who know and love the beverage rather than first time cider tasters.

Flavors: citrus zest, minerality (stones), wood and smoke

The Traditional Dry Sparkling shows its high level of tannins, making it taste smoky, almost meaty. I tasted medium to high acidity, but I'm definitely still getting a handle on how to gauge acidity. It was enough to make the cider citrusy but not enough to trouble me, and I'm not the biggest fan of super high acidity ciders. The cider is so British in style that it makes me long for Norwich, where I first enjoyed cider.

Drinking experience: warming, strongly sparkling, structured

The full mouthfeel and strong body really point to their use of cider apples. I enjoy the level of carbonation because I can drink it very comfortably, but I won't accidentally finish a glass without noticing. The thing about its warmth is that this cider tastes like it has a higher ABV than it actually does.

Drink this in the afternoon while listening to Bowie, The Smiths, Morissey, whatever British music moves you. Don't invite anyone talkative over. This cider deserves your full attention. Fantastic.